Infection prevention and control measures are designed to protect people who may be vulnerable to infection in the community at large and when they receive care because of a health problem. The basic principle of infection prevention and control is hygiene.
Measures: Infection prevention and control
Infection prevention and control measures help improve patient safety. To protect patients and healthcare workers and reduce the cost of healthcare-associated infections, it is crucial to prevent infections before they occur.
You can prevent and control infections by advocating these five proven measures:
- Establish an intensive hand hygiene program
- Clean and decontaminate the environment and equipment
- Establish contact precautions with any patient colonized or infected with a superbug
- Screen for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus at admission and at other times
- Provide regular reports of infection rates to frontline workers and hospital management
It is impossible to prevent all infections associated with health care, but studies have shown that at least 20% can be prevented by adopting effective prevention and control strategies.
The objectives of the infection prevention and control program are:
- Protect patients, healthcare workers, and visitors from associated healthcare infections.
- Prevent the spread of infections from one patient to another, from patients to healthcare workers, from healthcare workers to patients, from one healthcare worker to another, or from patients and healthcare workers to visitors or other persons working in health care establishments.
What are the best infection prevention practices?
Hand hygiene: Wash hands
Good hand hygiene is the single most important and most effective infection prevention and control measure to prevent the spread of infections. It is for this reason that it should be followed by patients, health care workers, and visitors.
The preferred method for cleaning hands is the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hands should be washed with soap and running water when they are visibly dirty.
Cleaning and disinfection
Common waiting areas or client care areas, and other areas where objects are being frequently touched, must be disinfected on a regular basis. Disinfection is essential to control the infections from spreading. Sinks, toilets, doorknobs, and other surfaces must be cleaned with a disinfectant regularly.
Housekeeping surfaces like floors and walls don’t need to be disinfected regularly, only when made I contact with blood or other body fluids. Otherwise, they may be cleaned routinely with some detergents and disinfectants.
Specific measures must be taken to avoid the spread of respiratory infections
- Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing with the crook of your elbow or simply with a tissue paper.
- Discard the used tissue paper in the nearest waste bin.
- Wash your hands immediately with an alcoholic hand gel after making contact with respiratory secretion.
- Supplies like wastebaskets, tissue papers, surgical face masks, and alcohol sanitizers and gels must be provided in waiting areas in hospitals.
Sharp items must be disposed of in a closeable, leak-proof, and puncture-resistant container. Non-sharp disposable items that are saturated in blood should also be disposed into biohazard bags.
If you are admitted to the hospital
There are steps you can take to protect yourself.
- Wash your hands often.
- Be aware that germs can be spread from person to person by caregivers.
- Ask the people providing care to wash your hands.
- Ask your visitors to wash their hands with the alcohol-based hand sanitizer when they arrive at the hospital and again when they leave.
- Ask family and friends to avoid visiting if they have a cold, flu, sore throat, diarrhea, or any infectious disease.